Monday, February 28, 2005

Caregivers and care receivers...

I want to put out something for the ones who give care to a loved one, whether spouse, parent, child or friend. The job of being a care giver is one that often times becomes a thankless and frustrating task. To think that someone who needs care could become demanding, argumentative, sometimes even verbally abusive wasn't in the contract that caregivers signed on. It is particularly difficult when the one being cared for doesn't even realize that they have changed more than they know. There are times when the caregiver can fall into a trap of feeling sorry for themselves, anger at the care receiver, "oh, the unfairness of it all...". I want to say that I understand those feelings. BUT, one thing that I know, LIFE IS NOT FAIR. Some people live reasonably healthy lives and then die. Some people have problems from the time of birth until they die. Not fair. It isn't fair to the ones afflicted or the ones who must do the caring. The biggest thing that can come from the unfairness of problems is the knowledge that we still have a choice about what we do in the face of the "unfairness". What kinds of methods do we employ when we find out something has gone wrong? The libs seem to think that "victimhood" is the primary and justifiable response. How should we respond instead? Stiff upper lip? "Everything is just fine, thanks."? "Please help me, I am stuck with this problem."? "Oh woe is me, nobody knows the trouble I've seen."? In the twenty plus years that my wife has struggled with MS, two things have helped both of us cope, HUMOR and tons of it, and a recognition that each day is a gift that should be cherished. Have we been able to maintain those two things at all times? Are you kidding? No way, but we get up and go on, finding new ways to work together and in that way we give care to and receive care from each other.

Mariners' commercials...

I am a great fan of the Mariners. I was able to sing the National Anthem for them a few times and that was when they were consistantly winning fewer games than they lost. In most of the years of the Mariners existence the commercials have been great. This year's early releases have been fun and showing that the ad agency has as much of a sense of humor as ever. Keep it up guys, I love it.

Sunday, February 27, 2005

Taking a gamble on education...

I have seen a couple of different commercials on the tube recently touting the help that the average citizen is giving to the education of students in this state. Both of them showed that the citizens were less than capable of doing very good work on the different construction projects for schools. Amusing and the voice over indicated that it was fortunate that these people were actually helping by buying lottery tickets. Nowhere in the ads was it mentioned that the odds of winning a lotto jackpot were in the neighborhood of 7 million to 1, except in very very small print at the end of the ad. One guy I know has likened the lottery to a tax on those who are math challenged.

The thing that bothers me a lot has to do with the fluctuations of the number of people who buy the tickets. Somehow the lottery board must continue to come up with a newer effort to get more buyers. Since the numbers of tickets goes higher as the jackpot grows bigger, it seems to me that they are trying to get more people to gamble and swell the intake. What kind of a picture does this paint for children in our school systems? The state is mandated by the constitution to provide money for education and how is this done? By gambling on people to purchase ever greater numbers of tickets. Strange. It would seem to me that we are gambling our future generation being educated at all.

Saturday, February 26, 2005

Like minds thinking alike?

Well, in this instance, it seems that Stefan Sharkansky and I are at least on the same page. In a previous post, I commented on the delays in releasing documents by King County. While reading the various posts at Sound Politics, I happened to see this short piece by the 'Shark'. Read that, and be sure to check his links, then come back here (if you wish).

A Terri Schiavo update

In an article in today's P-I, "Lawyers for the parents of Terri Schiavo promised to begin another flurry of legal activity next week after a judge said removal of the brain-damaged woman's feeding tube can take place in three weeks.

Circuit Judge George Greer ruled Friday that Terri Schiavo's husband, Michael, can stop her tube feedings on March 18 at 1 p.m., allowing him to carry out what he says were his wife's wishes not to be kept alive artificially.

The decision came on the 15th anniversary of Terri Schiavo's collapse, when a chemical imbalance caused her heart to temporarily stop beating and left her severely brain damaged."

Three weeks until 'legal euthanasia' is carried out. That's also three weeks for Terri's family to go through appeals to try to get the 'legal euthanasia' stopped. I pray that this will be enough time for the appeals to be made, and that the appelate court sides with her family in this matter. If they do not grant a stay, I fear where that will lead this nation of ours, as I stated in this previous post.

Again, I encourage anyone who has the means to do so, to contribute whatever they can to this fight for Terri's life. The link/mailing address to do so are listed here.

I'm saddened by this news

If you haven't guessed it by now from my 'nickname' Gray Wolf, I really like wolves. They are a very important part of the eco-system in general, and wherever they have been re-introduced in particular. I may be a conservative Republican, but I do care about the environment, ok? That is not an 'oxymoron' concept, by any means!

This morning, I read this article in the Seattle Times about the killing of an alpha-female wolf (the 'top {female} dog', if you will, in a pack) near Denali on Feb. 11th; at the end of the article, it describes how the alpha-male has been returning to the area where his mate was killed, and howling for her.

Life in nature is extremely difficult, and although I endorse hunting of game animals for food (I personally do not hunt), I do not support the hunting of animals strictly for the "trophy value", and when an animal that already has a difficult time surviving in the wilderness, it saddens me to learn of what I think is an unnecessary killing. I'm very saddened by this news.

Friday, February 25, 2005

An urgent plea from Terri Schiavo's father

Over on Newsmax is an urgent plea letter from Terri Schiavo's father, Bob Schindler Sr., asking for your help in fighting for her right to live.

If you aren't familiar with Terri's story, the abbreviated version is that she is the woman in Florida who has severe brain damage, and her estranged husband is trying to get a court order to have her life support systems pulled - in effect, starving her to death, which is a particularly gruesome, slow, painful way to die (remember the famine in Ethiopia, and in other places in Africa, and the pictures?). For more information about Terri, see Blogs for Terri, this post by David Limbaugh, and this post at Pro-Life Blogs (which says that allegations of abuse to Terri will be investigated).

If you have the means to help with Terri's defense, please do what you can. The link to do so is in the urgent plea from Terri's Dad, but I'll put it here, as well.

Or, if you prefer to donate by check, you may send it to:

"To submit a donation by check, please make check payable to "Terri Schin[d]ler-Schiavo Foundation" and send to:

The Terri Schindler-Schiavo Foundation c/o NewsMax PO Box 20989 West Palm Beach FL, 33416"

If this isn't stopped, I believe that we will open the "floodgates" for other people to be killed, because their condition makes them "inconvenient" for those who are tasked with providing for their care. Mr. Schindler reminds us of what happened in Germany during Hitler's reign of terror, when thousands of disabled people were sent for slaughter. Do we, as a nation, want to follow that dark path, too? I certainly hope not.

King County - lessons in lying, obfuscating, and stonewalling

David Postman and Cheryl Phillips report in today's Seattle Times that, "King County election officials have been saying for more than a month that they would give prosecutors details on felons who allegedly cast illegal votes in the November election. As recently as two weeks ago, the county released a report that said officials had, in fact, forwarded information on more than 100 suspect voters.

But as of yesterday, King County prosecutors said, all they had seen were a computer printout, a newspaper clipping and a spreadsheet produced by reporters — not enough information to launch an investigation. They would need more documentation including original signatures of the questionable voters, prosecutors said.
", and that, "Last night, King County elections spokeswoman Bobbie Egan said her office was working with prosecutors "to provide additional information to help in their investigation."

But there is no investigation." [Emphasis mine]

Later in the article, they quote Mary Lane, Dino Rossi's spokeswoman (person?) as saying, "They put out a taxpayer-funded report like this, with an accompanying press conference to toot their own horn, and now it turns out not everything in there is true.

"It's so frustrating working with King County because you're never able to get a straight answer out of them. It's always something."
[Emphasis mine]

Why does 'working' (sounds more like having a tug of war with them to me) with KC have to be so frustrating? Why can't KC follow the example of Pierce, Whatcom, Clark, Douglas and Thurston Counties, and get the information to the prosecutors office, like they said they already have? Why does it seem that they are always trying to do as little as possible, as slowly as they possibly can? What are they afraid of - that they will actually prove that they are incompetent all at once, instead of just in dribs and drabs, as they are doing now?

Or, even more ominous, could it be that KC actually threw the election to the former Attorney General, and that by lying, obfuscating and stonewalling, they are trying to cover it up, to try fool the public about this? I think that Attorney General McKenna needs to take a cold, hard look at what the Elections office in KC did last November, and what they have been doing since then. Covering up incompetence is one thing - at best it's embarassing to those involved, and at worst it could cost some people their jobs - but if KC Elections people were actually involved in throwing the election, and are now trying to cover that up, that's a whole different matter.

Do I have any proof to these "allegations"? No, I don't. But, with all of the 'problems' (see Sound Politics for the long list of those!) that KC had during the election, and the subsequent vote counts, and what they have been doing since, there is a definite pattern that leads me to suspect that there is reason to suspect that they in fact did throw the election, and that they are now trying to cover that up.

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Another pet peeve - old chewing gum

Old chewing gum? Yep. But to be specific, old, chewed gum improperly disposed of. In my field, Facilities Maintenance, those of us who do the actual work of maintaining the appearence (and this also includes all of the hard working janitors out there), along with the systems, of buildings constantly find gum where it doesn't belong - on the ground, on stairs and handrails, the side of mirrors in restrooms, plus hundreds of other "clever" places - rather than in trash cans, or still in the mouths of gum chewers.

I chew (sugarless) gum, myself, all the time, and when I'm finished with a piece, I throw it away in the trash. I really hate it when I'm walking down the street on a particularly hot day, and step in some gum that some thoughtless twit tossed on the sidewalk. It's a pain in the ... ahem, "rear" to get off of my shoe, you know? It's even more difficult to get out of carpet, although those of us who work in FM do have our ways - we freeze it, and then scrape it up, which takes time to do. Time that could be better spent in other areas.

Apparently I'm not the only one who has this pet peeve, either, as this article in the P-I shows. There is a government 'summit' going on in London on this very subject. Apparently the Brits are a sloppy lot, throwing their used gum willy-nilly, costing local governments in Britain rather large sums of money cleaning it up. One thing that has been proposed, as a way to recoup some of the costs is a tax on gum. I'm usually opposed to taxes in general, but this is one tax that I would support here, if it would curb people from throwing their used gum on the ... er, curb ... instead of in the trash, where it belongs.

Republicans tally over 1,000 illegal felon votes

In an article in today's Seattle Times, the AP reports that the state Republican Party has tallied a total of 1,108 felons who voted illegally, with the vast majority - 884 - coming from King County (gee, why doesn't that surprise me?), which leans heavily to the Democrats.

In the third paragraph, the state Dems made this ludicrous statement:

Democrats say Gregoire is the legitimate governor and say Republicans don't have enough evidence to warrant nullifying the election.

I don't know all that much about state laws regarding what would be enough to nullify an election, but I'm pretty darned sure this is enough!

UPDATE: Stefan Sharkansky at Sound Politics has posted on this as well.

An explanation

If you're a careful reader, you'll notice two things about all of the posts on this blog. One is that they have all been posted either yesterday or today, and the other is that they have all been posted by me. So, what's up with that?

We had to create this new blog because of a name conflict with The Right Brothers singing duo (our old blog was also called "The Right Brothers", here on Blogger), because I didn't do the proper research before naming our old blog. Because of the time spent by my brother and I on our posts, I didn't want to lose them, and copied all of them to here.

Which also explains why they all show they were posted by me - Gray Wolf. For those posts done by my brother - Dither - I indicated that in the body of the text, at the end of the post, as well as the title.

I'm finished with that lovely little task now, and so all future posts (including this one) will be original to this blog.

Another pet peeve of mine

I like surfing the web, and have quite a few websites - and not just blogs - bookmarked. At times, I'll even take a chance, and click on an ad link (hint, hint), just to see where it takes me. But, a lot of the time when I do that, I'm disappointed.

Why? Because the webmaster decided to get 'cute', and installed several different ads on his site. Now, don't get me wrong - ads serve a useful purpose when people do click on them (hint, hint) - but what really gets me, and is a pet peeve of mine, is when you go to a web site, and their page is filled to overflowing with ads.

And not just simple ads, mind you, but flashing, blinking ads, or ads that float across your screen and then park themselves right there, in the middle of what you are trying to look at, whether it's a picture or text, and even though they have that 'X' up in the upper right hand corner, or 'close' somewhere on it, when you click it, it doesn't go away!

Ads do have a purpose, as I briefly mentioned above, in that when people click on them (hint, hint) that means the webmaster is getting a tiny bit of ka-ching added to his account. And hey, everybody likes a little extra cash coming in, right? (Tell me you don't. Go ahead, I'm waiting ...)

What ads aren't for, though, is to distract your visitor from the main thrust of your website. Let me make this perfectly clear to anyone reading this who has a website and is contemplating putting ads on it. Blinking, flashing, floating, or in any other way distracting ads, drive people away from your website, not induce them to return (unless they like all that visual stimulation, of course) to your site.

Oh, yeah ... almost forgot. Pop-up ads suck, too! Because of the prevalence of these blights of the web, I've had to install pop-up blocking software on my computer. Memo to all the scum sucking slime balls that either create, or use, pop-up ads - my computer is just that. Mine! Not yours - you can do whatever you want with your computer, as long as it doesn't harm others, but I don't recall ever having had a case of the stupids and giving you permission to do what you want on my computer! So quit, already. I'm sick of it.

Whew ... glad to get that off my chest. And now, back to your regular program.

Some more new additions

I have added a couple of new things to the blog, hoping to improve things a bit.

One is that I've submitted the blog to Technorati - for an admittedly selfish reason. I want to see where our blog ranks, of course. You can see the little Technorati "bubble" on the lower right side of the page.

The other is that I went to HaloScan, and installed their Trackback system.

Hopefully both of these will have positive results.

UPDATE: A word of caution folks, regarding HaloScan! While their little add-on is great, once you do add it to your template, all comments on previous posts get deleted! That's not good. I didn't know that until after I installed it and checked how things looked. Althought we only had a few comments to a few posts, which really doesn't 'hurt' us that badly, I know that a lot of other bloggers have had their blogs for quite some time, and have a lot of comments, which would 'hurt' if they lost those. So if you have a lot of posts with a lot of comments, only install HaloScan if you really, really want the Trackback feature on your blog. If it doesn't matter, I do recommend installing it.

Home is where your heart is

Home is where your heart is. I was born in Detroit, but now I live in Seattle, and even with all of the myriad problems that we have here – bad traffic, crime, homeless people not having a place to call home, and the unfriendly (to Conservatives) political atmosphere – I still love this city, and call it home.

Twenty years ago, I had to move away from here, and that was one of the hardest things I have ever had to do. I had a very difficult time holding back the tears, as I drove ever further east. I spent a year in the Pontiac area in Michigan, living with my grandmother for a while, and then in my own place. It was one of the worst years of my life, as I missed the beauty of the Pacific Northwest – the mountains, the water (Puget Sound, and the ocean), the abundant green of the forests, and the temperate climate.

When my grandmother unexpectedly passed away, I received a sum of money as an inheritance, which allowed me to return to my beloved home, Seattle. When I left Michigan, my emotions were kind of mixed. On the one hand, I had lost my grandmother, whom I loved very much – as a child, I was sent back to Michigan almost every summer, to spend time with my grandparents, and they held a special place in my heart, and still do – while on the other hand, my heart was filled with joy at the prospect of going home.

I remember the impatience I felt, as I drove west from Michigan, wanting to get home as quickly as possible. I didn’t realize it until after I crossed the Idaho – Washington border, but I was also very tense. As soon as I crossed into Washington, however, it dawned on me that I had been very tense when I felt myself relax. Even though I have never lived in Eastern Washington, as soon as I crossed the state line, I knew I was home.

As I continued west on I-90, I grew happier, knowing that it wouldn’t be long before I was back where my heart was, where I belonged. When I crested the mountain pass, and began the long downward journey to the lowlands, my heart was filled with joy, and I couldn’t keep the smile from my face.

At last, my journey ended as I entered the city. I was home. Back in Seattle, where I have pretty much been ever since. I have lived in other areas around Puget Sound, but always referred to living in Seattle when in conversation with folks from out of town, even though I didn’t actually live in Seattle.

I do live in Seattle, now, and have been here since 1993. I dearly love this city, even with all of its’ myriad problems, and cannot envision myself living anywhere else. Is Seattle a perfect place? Certainly not, but this is where my heart is, and this is my home.

Another new addition

I just added a nifty little item, the GOPNewsFlash. It's located in the lower left of the page, near the Google ads. Check it out.

If you want one for your site, just click on the "Place this on your site" link, enter your e-mail address and zip code, and they will give you the code for your very own GOPNewsFlash ticker. Not only that, but it comes in two different sizes, plus you can get one for your desk top, too. How cool is that?

If you don't know it yet, we are "Officially" at "War" now with the MSM

Have you noticed something lately? The MSM and the right side of the blogosphere seem to be in an active war of words now, as opposed to the occasional skirmishes.

First came “RaTHergate” (or Memogate, whichever you choose to call it), where Dan Rather and others at “60 Minutes Wednesday” tried to use fake memos to smear President Bush, to try to influence the outcome of the elections, which was exposed by the right side of the blogosphere (
Powerline, Ratherbiased, LGF, and others). Then the MSM, and Kerry, tried to shoot back with the ‘missing explosives’ at a military base in Iraq (which had been removed and accounted for months earlier by US forces in the area), trying to fabricate a scandal just prior to the election, to also attempt to influence the election.

Then, after the election, there were the revelations of conservative pundits being paid by the current administration to promote the Presidents agenda, and you could hear the outrage from the MSM and the left side of the blogosphere, mixed with glee at the ‘outing’ of those conservative pundits. The right side of the blogosphere chimed in with condemnation in the one case, and chided the other individual for not disclosing the fact that she did some ghost writing for the administration, but chalked that up to a learning experience.

Then, the former head of the news division of CNN, Mr. Eason Jordan, stated categorically but without giving specific evidence, that the US military was ‘targeting’ journalists, that they had in fact killed 12 journalists in Iraq, and that this was official policy of the military. Rep. Barney Frank, a liberal Democrat, immediately challenged this statement by Mr. Jordan, asking for proof. Mr. Jordan then tried to back off of his allegation, saying later that he was misunderstood and/or misquoted. CNN then sent out an e-mail statement to media outlets, as well as to bloggers who had picked up on these allegations, to say that Mr. Jordan was misquoted and didn’t mean to imply that the US military was doing this on purpose. However, the genie was already out of the bottle, and a blogswarm resulted, eventually leading to the resignation of Mr. Jordan. If you aren’t familiar with this story (Which planet have you been visiting lately? Just kidding), go to Captain's Quarter’s
CNN archive to catch up.

Meanwhile, the MSM was for the most part, silent on the whole episode, especially CNN. Then,
Bret Stephens of the WSJ OpinionJournal (free registration required) weighed in on this episode, calling the whole thing a "kerfuffle" (and a minor one at that), and became very condescending towards those who had dared to blog about the statement made by Mr. Jordan, calling the bloggers amateurs among other things, basically implying that they didn’t have the right to say anything about what Mr. Jordan had said.

Just a quick aside – you may be wondering why I haven’t posted on what Captain Ed of CQ refers to as “Eason’s Fables”. Well, for one thing, I really didn’t have the time, and for another, all the ‘Big Blogs’ like CQ, Powerline,
Hugh Hewitt, etc. were all over it, and things were happening so fast, I just couldn’t keep up, to be honest.

At any rate, back to my thread. Then the MSM, and the left side of the blogosphere, took great delight in ‘outing’ James Guckert (who used the nom-de-plume Jeff Gannon), who was employed by the small conservative news outlet,
Talon News, for having the audacity of asking ‘softball’ questions of President Bush – as if that is a crime. As the MSM and the left side of the blogosphere dug deeper, they found out that Mr. Guckert had a seedy past – he was gay, and had posted some x-rated pictures of himself on a gay escort web site, among other things; being gay apparently is ok if you are a Liberal gay, but not ok if you are a Conservative gay – and after the left side of the blogosphere posted some of Mr. Guckert’s pictures on their blogs, Mr. Guckert resigned from Talon News. The MSM were strangely silent on the allegations made by Mr. Jordan, which if true would have made Abu Ghraib a mere ‘hiccup’, but took great glee in reporting on Mr. Guckert. NBC news used almost five minutes one night this past week on this story (5 minutes on TV is an exceptional amount of time to use in reporting anything).

Now, there are questions about Mr. Bush smoking pot. According to an AP story aired by King 5 which is now posted on their
web site (free registration required) - states that the New York Times ran a story of alleged secret tapes made by Doug Wead, a former Assistant to George H. W. Bush, revealed to Times reporters this little tidbit –

Bush also criticize[d] then-Vice President Al Gore for admitting marijuana use and explains why he would not do the same.
"I wouldn't answer the marijuana questions," he said, according to the Times. "You know why? Because I don't want some little kid doing what I tried."
According to the article, Wead played 12 of the tapes to a Times reporter. He said he recorded them because he viewed Bush as a historic figure. He is the author of a new book on presidential childhoods.
The White House did not deny the authenticity of the tapes.
"The governor was having casual conversations with someone he believed was his friend," White House spokesman Trent Duffy said, referring to Bush.

CQ has posted on this

Whether or nor Mr. Bush smoked pot is immaterial to his fitness to be the President of the United States, just as was the case for Bill Clinton (“I never inhaled”). This “kerfuffle” is just the latest attempt by the MSM to “shoot back” at both President Bush and the right side of the blogosphere. They don't realize it yet, but they missed – again.

Very negative feeling... Note: This was originally posted by Dither.

I called our Mom yesterday and we talked about a lot of things. One thing that came up in the conversation was, "I HATE GW Bush!" She alse thinks he's stupid. I was amazed at the amount of vitriol in her voice when she said those things. I am also amazed that this is the same person who tried to teach us not to hate others. She tried to teach us to look at all sides of an issue and come to our own conclusion about it. What happened? It seems that she has been infected with the same malady that the Left has, unthinking hatred of an individual regardless of whether that individual is personally known or not.

Where does the hatred come from? Why is so much directed at the President? I believe there are two main reasons that he is so reviled by the Left. The first one is his belief in Christ. They can't accept that someone can be in a position of power without trying to impose their belief or philosophy on the group. His belief in God, his trust in the Bible and prayer frosts the ones who believe (I have heard some express this) that it is all right to have a religion as long as it is kept to oneself. The second one is something a little less visible but no less important to the Left, GW says things and then tries to get those things done. Amazing, someone whose word means something. This is changing the whole picture of politics, after all, who really believes the elected will really do what they promise? When Clinton was in office, I disliked his efforts to move the country towards the Left, I was appalled at his shenanigans with interns and I thought that his actions on the foreign policy front were absurd, but I didn't hate him. I thought he was an embarassment when he tried to split hairs on the meaning of "is". But I didn't hate him. I can't hate him, I don't know him. I am a Christian and I am supposed to love my neighbor as myself, and I am supposed to pray for the leaders of the country. It's hard to hate someone and pray for them at the same time.

I find the level and strength of the hatred is appalling. I can't imagine the same people who want to draft and enforce "hate crimes legislation" don't see their own difficulties with intolerance. Is tolerance of the Left's ideas as important as tolerance of the Right's ideas? It would appear that everyone is supposed to tolerate the ideas of the Left, BUT the Left doesn't have to follow suit for, after all, "they are correct". Not to mention, that if we don't tolerate their ideas and agenda then they will call us all sorts of names...

Graywolf adds - I too, was quite surprised at my mother's words regarding her feelings of hatred towards President Bush, and am saddened by that attitude. My brother is correct when he states that she taught us to be tolerant of others, as did our dad to a certain degree. I wonder who has influenced her to take this train of thought? Oh, well, she's still my mom, and I still love her.

Note: This was originally posted by Dither.

Stryker Brigade web site supports the troops, and their families

An article in the P-I led me to this web site, Stryker News. This web site was set up to offer support to the troopers serving with the Stryker Brigades in Iraq, and their families. Take a look, it's well worth the time, and if you have the means, please help support them in their efforts.

There are three Stryker Brigades stationed at Fort Lewis, so these are "our" guys and gals. Keep your heads down folks, do your best, and come home safe.

What were they thinking?

I'm a vet of the US Navy, having served from 1974 to 1976, and am usually happy when a new ship or submarine is commissioned and launched. However, in an article in the P-I, it was reported that the last of the Seawolf class of attack subs was launched, and I'm upset. Why? Because it was named after one of the most incompetent former Presidents we have had the misfortune of enduring, the Neville Chamberlain of our time, the guy who betrayed one of our staunchest mid-east allies, and then sat on his thumb basically doing nothing while US citizens were held hostage in Iran for 444 days - none other than the (moonbat nut case) peanut farmer from Georgia himself, Jimmy Carter.

While Jimmy does a fine job with Habitat for Humanity which I think he should limit himself to, he was a lousy President, and still thinks he has relevance in politics today, butting in where he isn't needed, and making what I consider to be blatant anti-American statements while in foreign countries (as well as in the US!).

Why did the Navy name the most powerful attack sub after this guy? There are only two reasons that I can think of - Jimmy served in submarines while in tha Navy, and he's a former President. I do not think those two things justifies naming something like the most powerful attack sub in the world after Jimmy, and I'm not a happy camper!

I'm certainly glad that I'm not still in the Navy, and assigned to that boat. Geeze, Louise, what were they thinking?

Todd Pitman, AP hack writer

In Saturday's P-I, is an article by Todd Pitman of the AP, entitled "Sen. Clinton says Iraq insurgents failing". The beginning of the article quotes Madame Hillary actually saying some things I happen to agree with (As Gomer Pyle was fond of saying, "Surprise, surprise, surprise!"), which is basically that the terrorists [my word - insurgents being the PC word constantly used by the media] are getting more and more desperate as they sense their agenda is slipping away through their fingers, and up to that point the article was fine.

But then Mr. Pitman brings up the tired, old 'when are the troops coming home?' angle, putting these two paragraphs into the story that has absolutely no bearing on the comments made by Madame Hillary:

But Sen. Lindsey Graham, a Republican from South Carolina, said he did not believe the U.S. military would leave Iraq anytime soon.

"How long I don't know, but to leave too soon would be devastating to stay too long is unnecessary," Graham said. "I ask the American people to be patient, because what happens here will affect our security back home."

Mr. Pitman, what do those two paragraphs, along with the rest of the filler after those paragraphs, have to do with the beginning of the article? Absolutely nothing. Was that your doing, or was that something an editor had inserted? Time after time after time, AP reporters show their true colors, hashing and rehashing Democrat talking points, and taking the position that we're too stupid to realize that.

Let me make something clear - we will bring our troops home when the Iraqi's feel we are no longer needed in their country. Not when a Democrat (think Kennedy or Kerry) says we should, and certainly not when some hack reporter thinks it's time.

Mr. Pitman, I suggest you stick to reporting facts, and don't clutter up what you write with clap trap you aren't qualified to speak to.

First a county, now the state?

There's an interesting opinion piece in the Seattle Times today, about legislation asking the Feds to consider allowing us to split the state in two, similar to what citizens in rural King County want to do - create Cedar County, to split off from the Seattle dominated portion of KC.

The bill, co-sponsered by Joyce Mulliken, R-Ephrata, has been endorsed by 10 other Senators, would split the state north to south, pretty much along the lines of how the counties voted in last Novembers gubenatorial race - all the counties that voted for Dino Rossi would constitute the new 51st state of Eastern Washington (boy, if this comes to pass, wouldn't that make the folks in Puerto Rico happy - NOT!), with the counties that voted for the former Attorney General, comprising the other portion, presumably renamed Western Washington; the piece mentions that the border counties would be Okanagon, Chelan, Kittitas, Yakima and Klickitat counties.

The author(s) of the piece chide the state legislators for even thinking about this, equating this to be merely a "family squabble", and basically taking the Rodney King route of, "Can't we all just get along?", and stating that the 'sum is greater than it's parts', while glossing over the very real differences between the two halves. As I see it (and yes, this is a simplification), the two main differences between the halves are that Western Washington folks resent having to subsidize roads in Eastern Washington, while those in Eastern Washington resent what they perceive to be "heavy-handedness" coming from Olympia and Seattle.

Should the state split in two? There is precedence for that. Virginia was a much larger state at one time, than it is now. The folks in the western part of Virginia broke away from the eastern part to form West Virginia over the slavery issue. Granted, that's a much more serious issue to split a state over than what I wrote above, and what is stated in the Times opinion piece, but in my opinion that doesn't delegitimize the very real issues dividing Eastern and Western Washington.

If this does happen, I may have to move to the new state because of the political climate ... sigh ... I hate snow, though.

Some new additions to our blog

For those of you who have been visiting our blog, first of all, thank you! As you may have noticed, we have a hit counter, to let us know how many people are visiting our site. Absolutely NO personal information is being gathered through this, I guarantee you. I wouldn't do that, as I'm a major privacy "freak" myself. Let me state that again. ABSOLUTELY NO PERSONAL INFORMATION IS BEING GATHERED FROM ANY VISITORS TO THIS SITE THROUGH THE HIT COUNTER.

The other new addition to the site are a couple of small Google Ads, with the occasional Public Service Announcement ad. The deal with those is simple. If you click on the ad, you'll be redirected to the site that has placed the ad. In return, we get paid a few pennies (or fractions thereof ... don't know yet, anyway it's a tiny sum) for you clicking on the ad. We are still not being paid for the content of our blog though (darn it!).

I may change the types of ads - size, number of ads, layout - but for now, I'll stick with the two small ads to see how that goes. One thing you won't see are big, flashing, banner ads. I hate those with a passion (a future Pet Peeve post)! For one thing, they're distracting as all get out, and for another, it slows down the page loading. I know that the majority of people are still on dial up (including me, my brother has cable), so the simpler a page is, the faster it loads. That counts when you have a slow(er) type of connection to the web.

I just wanted to let you all know what we're doing with our blog. I hope this is ok with everybody. Let me know in the comments.

"Progressive" taxes are not a bad thing, plus an update

David Limbaugh has a terrific blog, with great insight into the thinking (if you can call it that - thinking, that is) of the Left, and I usually try to read it on a daily basis.

As I was catching up on it today, I read this post on tax reform, which got me to thinking about the different types of taxes when he brought up the term "progressive" as cited by Mort Kondracke, of the Joplin Globe. There are "progressive" taxes, and there are "regressive" taxes. There are also two different "progressive's", one in economics as applied to taxes, the other in politics (more on that below). The one paragraph in Mr. Kondracke's article that gave me pause was this:

On Jan. 7, Bush charged his nine-member commission, headed by retired Sens. Connie Mack, R-Fla., and John Breaux, D-La., to recommend ways to simplify the tax code and "share the burdens and benefits of the federal tax structure in an appropriately progressive manner." [Emphasis mine]

While I don't know Mr. Kondracke, and I must admit I haven't seen the bit in quotation marks in the news, I'm hoping that his use of the term "progressive" was in relation to economics, and not politics. (In politics, "progressive" equates to the Democrat Party; "progressive" as used in this context, being a euphemism for Liberal. I do not believe that if the bit in quotation marks was a quote attributable to President Bush, that he was speaking in the context of politics! And, no, I didn't forget the "ic". As far as I'm concerned, there's nothing democratic about the Democrat Party.)

In economics as applied to taxes, however, "progressive" has an entirely different, positive, meaning. The other term used in economics as applied to taxes is "regressive", which carries a negative conotation. Any tax that is considered "progressive" places the same burden of taxation on everyone by income level, so that all pay their fair share, whereas a "regressive" tax places the same percentage amount of tax on everyone, which places an undue tax burden on those of lower incomes. An example of a "regressive" tax is a states' sales tax. With a state sales tax, everyone is taxed at the same percentage amount based on the cost of the goods or services they are purchasing, but as a percentage of total income, those making lower wages pay a higher tax rate than those earning more. A "progressive" tax places a different tax burden on people according to their income level, rather than on the costs of goods or services.

I'm definitely no economist by any stretch of the imagination, but take my word for it, I know what the difference between progressive and regressive taxes are. I happen to live in Washington State, which possibly has the most regressive system of taxation in the nation. As far as I'm concerned, don't tax me at all, but if you must, give me "progressive" taxes (but not anything that stifles growth in the US economy) please!

UPDATE: I wrote David an e-mail to let him know I had posted on his post (too bad Blogger doesn't support Trackback), and asked him to read it. Imagine my surprise when I got a reply from him - busy man that he is - and also my chagrin when he - politely - pointed out that I had made a mistake in my post, when I said that he had made a mistake of misinterpretting what Mr. Kondrake had written in his article. So, I went back and reread both Mr. Kondrake's article, and David's post, and then did some editing (actually, I pretty much re-wrote the first half) of my post. Why? Because I was wrong.

Thank you, David, for taking the time to give my humble little blog a read, and to write back - even if it was to say I messed up (although it was done politely). I'll try to not do that again ... that shows I didn't read that properly, which is too embarassing!

Important disclaimer

When my brother and I began this blog, I was trying to figure out a name for it, and after making a few suggestions back and forth, we decided on the name we are using. In our excitement at starting a blog, neither of us thought to do any research on the name to see if anyone else was using it, and just started right up, typing away and posting.

Then, yesterday and today, while doing some things I came across a "little problem". There is a Conservative, Country and Western singing duo called The Right Brothers - Frank Highland and Aaron Sain - which I had NO idea about. I have sent them an e-mail to explain about our blog name, and to ask them what they want us to do in regards to that, as neither my brother nor I want to infringe on any trademark, nor do we want to mislead any of their fans. In the meantime, until I hear back from them, I have changed the description of our blog in the header at the top of the page.

Please note that we are not affiliated with The Right Brothers in any way (although we do support their work!), and if you were looking for them, and found us by mistake, we sincerely apologize. You will find The Right Brothers web site here -

UPDATE: I have been in communication yesterday and today (Feb. 22/23) with Aaron Sain regarding this situation, and I'm pleased that we have had very polite and friendly 'conversations' back and forth, and one of my comments to him was, "Thank God you guys are Conservatives!", with the idea that if they had been Liberals, we would probably be settling this issue in court, instead of between reasonable people of like mind, and possibly friends in the future.

I encourage everybody, if you have the chance, to go to their show(s). They are really a couple of "Good Guys", and deserve your support.

Peggy Noonan does it again

Once again, Peggy Noonan has written a column in the WSJ's OpinionJournal (free subscription req.) that goes right to the heart of her subject matter, and once again, her aim is true. Her subject this time? The effect the blogosphere is having on the MSM. Check it out - it's worth the read.

And now for the sports

Walter Jones will be reporting to Seahawks training camp this year, as he has agreed to a 7 year, $50M + contract. This means that someone else will get the "franchise" tag this year, if the 'Hawks choose to use it. Who will it be - Shaun Alexander? Matt Hasselbeck? Stay tuned, as the team has until Feb. 22nd to use the tag.

Spring Training for the M's has officially started as of today. Keep up with what's happening at the P-I. Be sure to check out their blog, too. Interesting stuff there ... usually.

For all you hockey fans out there, you better like the minor league stuff, as the NHL has cancelled this year's season, as no labor agreement could be reached.

And, for all you NASCAR fans out there (which includes me, too!) the P-I has a 2005 season primer for you to peruse. Don't forget, the Daytona 500 is this coming Sunday! Here's the NASCAR Nextel Cup schedule.

Will Pang be set free?

In 1995, Martin Pang burned down his family's business warehouse to collect the insurance money to pay off his heavy debt load. As a result of his actions, four Seattle Fire Fighters died, and Pang was convicted, and sentenced to serve four consecutive 8.75 year sentences, which Pang agreed to in a plea deal to avoid a possible life sentence. Now, however, Pang's attorneys are trying to get him released claiming that his sentence is "unduly harsh" - nevermind what the Fire Fighters who died, and their families, went through - another case of lawyers working from the angle of the criminal's "rights", while totally disregarding the victims rights. The Times and P-I both have articles on this, which you can read here and here.

Why am I posting about this? Beyond the outrage I feel at the callous disregard for the victims, there are two reasons.

One, while with a previous employer, our offices were temporarily located in the building you can see in the upper left hand corner in the picture on the Times page, and I had several conversations with people who had been working there for many years, and remembered the fire. As a side note, all of the remnants of the warehouse were removed after the fire, and the property is now used for event parking, such as during an M's, or Seahawks game.

The other reason is deeper. During my time in the Navy, I was a fire fighter, and I worked very hard to become the best fire fighter on the ship that I served on, which I feel I can claim. I feel that, although that is no longer my profession, I am still part of that 'brotherhood', and so I deeply feel the loss of any fire fighter. On 9/11, I was a basket case due to both the overall casualties incurred, and the number of police and fire fighters who gave their lives. Every September 11th since then, I pause to give thanks to God for the brave men and women who willingly braved death or injury to help others. I still grieve for their loss, as well as all the other fire fighters who have given their lives in the line of duty, including the four who lost their lives due to the greed of a man, who may soon win his release from jail.

Am I outraged by that possibility? You're darned right I am!

UPDATE: Danny Westneat of the Times puts in his eloquent two cents worth on this here.

An interesting quote

In this day and age of "political correctness" adherents, and "thought police", many people (and I'm including myself, here) are having a difficult time to be able to say what they mean, without fear of being accused of something - like, being a racist, or sexist, etc. - and possibly having their lives turned upside down by someone suing them, over the simple use of a word.

Over the years, I have noted wih a certain amount of irritation, how our conversations have changed, with the addition of multiple word phrases that we are "supposed" to use, in place of the simple word those phrases have been created to replace, so as to not "offend" any individual or group.

A simple example, from my line of work, is the name of a tool. This particular tool is used regularly by people doing repair and installation work, from do-it-youselfers to professionals. The tool has two "proper" names - side cutters, or diagonal cutters - and this tool is used to cut electrical wires (it has other cutting uses, too, but I want this to be as short as possible). The name "diagonal cutters" is the older of the two names used for this tool, and way before I even knew this tool existed, the name was shortened to (gasp!) "dikes", which for some people is an "offensive" term, but the shortening of the tool name was never intended to "offend" - it was simply done out of a need for brevity in speaking.

Granting that the word "dikes" could possibly "offend" a small minority of people I come in contact with while I go about my work, and being mindful of the litigiousness of our society, I tend to not use that term very often anymore, unless I am specifically aware that there is no one within hearing distance that might be "offended". I instead refer to the tool as side, diagonal, or simply, wire cutters, while resenting the fact that to be "nice", I am forced into not using the term "dikes"!

All the above now leads me to the interesting quote, which is as follows:

Norman Lewis, in “Word Power Made Easy”, stated that, “Words are only symbols of things. They are not the things themselves, but many people fear to use certain words that symbolize things that are unpleasant to them. These people prefer circumlocutions; words that talk around an idea, or imply something, but don’t come right out and say so directly."

I'm usually a plain talker, but I'm also glad that I'm blessed with a fairly large vocabulary, considering how times are nowadays. I miss the "old days" when we could hold a conversation with one another using simple words or terms, without the nagging little thoughts floating in the back of our minds, asking if what we say is going to "offend" anyone.

Another where's the justice? Note: This was originally posted by Dither.

Martin Pang may get to go free. He's the one who torched his parents' warehouse and four fire fighters died trying to put the fire out. For some reason the Supreme Court decided that the sentence that Pang accepted for his actions was declared illegal. They said that the crime that Martin pled guilty to (and when someone pleads guilty a jury trial is not done) could not have that long a sentence applied without a jury trial, so therefore, his sentence was not legal. His lawyer should be proud. Justice was again misplaced, ah, misdirected, ah, set aside? Where are the consequences for activities? Is ten years in prison enough to pay back the families of the dead fire fighters? He only came back to the US because the death penalty was set aside so that Brazil would allow his extradiction. Now he may become a free man... Where's the justice?

Note: This was originally posted by Dither.

Should the US go to war against North Korea?

With the quiet admission (boast?) by the North Koren government that they possess nuclear weapons, some feel that N. Korea should be our next "First Priority". While I believe that the N. Korean government poses a threat to a certain extent, I do not think that it poses as great a threat to the U.S. as it does to it's own people. People who have been enslaved, starved, brain washed into following the cult of the so-called "Great Leader" and his repugnant son, the "Dear Leader", and basically terrorized by their own government.

I think Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is on the right track in regards to N. Korea, in insisting that negotiations are the way to go, as opposed to any "military option" that some are pressing for. From this article in the (London) Times On-Line, I think that all we need is patience. If we can simply wait, the government of N. Korea will eventually implode, hopefully freeing the N. Korean people from the abysmal tyrany they have had to endure since the end of WWII. All the signs are there, but do we have the patience to wait?

Where's the justice?

The other day, I was riding the bus to go take a pre-employment drug test, and as I was on the bus I was looking at the ad boards and noticed one that said something to the effect that if you use a gun while you are commiting a crime, you can expect to serve extra time (hey, that rhymes!) to the tune of 5, 10, 15 or more years. Then I read this article in the P-I this morning, about the arrest of a young man accused of the beating death of Darrel Johnson, a 69 year old Navy vet, and in the article it was stated that the young man who was arrested, had been arrested earlier for armed robbery of two youths, and had been sentenced to 6 months! Six months? From what I saw in the bus ad, you spent extra years in jail for using a gun while commiting a crime. If this had been applied in the young mans case - spending years behind bars, instead of six measly months - do you suppose that Mr. Johnson would still be alive?

In the case of this young man, if he is proven guilty of murdering Mr. Johnson, I hope they throw the book at him. I would also hope that this brings shame - and possibly some legal problems - to those involved in the prosecuting of, and sentencing in, the armed robbery case.

Dean Logan - Close enough for government work

In an article in today's Seattle Times, during the King County Council meeting held yesterday, KC Elections head Dean Logan had some explaining to do regarding the fiasco that happened during the November election in KC. Unfortunately, in my opinion, Mr. Logan failed to properly explain anything, really.

In a previous post of mine, I said the Iraqi's were doing all they could to ensure the count was accurate, for the entire nation of Iraq, yet Dean Logan continues to assert that discrepancies are "normal", or at least, close enough for government work (my words, not his, but you get the idea). Not good enough, Mr. Logan. If your bank made an error with your checking account, causing one of your checks to bounce, and after you complained and demanded that they make it right, wouldn't you be even more upset if their response was to say, "Discrepancies happen, so live with it?" Close, as the saying goes, only counts with horseshoes and hand grenades.

In the article, Logan in response to a question, makes this statement, "I would love it if I could say, 'Heads will roll,' and that will make it better," Logan responded. "I don't believe that's the case. There have been cultural issues in the division for years." [Emphasis mine] Cultural issues, Mr. Logan? Whatever in the world are you talking about? And you say this has been going on for years? Why haven't you done anything about that? Have you even tried, or don't you care? Or, perhaps you were instructed by your boss, King Sims, to just go with the flow? That wouldn't surprise me in the least.

It is indisputable that many felons registered to vote, and then voted illegally (among many other types of illegal votes) in November. My question is, with all of the state's resources, how is it not possible to check those resources to ensure that someone coming in to register to vote has the right to register? Specifically in the case of felons, I see no reason why the counties cannot check the data base to determine if their voting rights have been restored, with two or maybe three possible exceptions - the data base is not properly maintained, and for that, someone needs to be fired; the data base doesn't contain that kind of information (and if not, why not?), and someone should be fired for that lapse in good sense; or, county elections personnel are too lazy to even be bothered to check the data base when registering a new voter, or even more ominous, county elections workers have been specifically instructed to not check any of the data bases. In either case, appropriate individuals should be fired, and if there are any laws in place, charges should be brought.

Mr. Logan has also made the ludricrous assertion that it is up to the voters to determine whether or not someone is eligible to vote, and it is not his job. If that is the case, then please tell us just exactly what is your job, Mr. Logan? Isn't it your job to ensure that only legally entitled individuals register to vote, and only properly registered voters are allowed to vote, and that there are no discrepancies in the vote totals?

Close enough for government work? I think not.

Another "deer caught in the headlights" moment

During yesterdays KC Council meeting, as reported by Stefan Sharkansky at Sound Politics, KC Elections head Dean Logan had another one of his deer caught in the headlight moments (which seems to be a common occurance for him latety), when asked a question by Councilman Bob Ferguson regarding the actual vote discrepancy count between voterless ballots, and ballotless voters in King County. From the notes that Stefan took from the meeting, it seemed as if Mr. Logan had no clue as to what Councilman Ferguson was asking.

Perhaps Mr. Logan should return to elementary school, and retake math! Failing that, perhaps he should ask Councilman Ferguson for a copy of the letter that Republican Chairman Chris Vance gave to the Councilman to answer the question that Mr. Logan could not.

Well, I was wrong - happily enough

In a previous post, my brother and I "tag teamed" Reality Hammer over a post he did, regarding my misgivings over what I perceived to be glee over cuts President Bush is proposing to Medicare/Medicaid. My misperception was that I thought that he was being gleeful in the cutting of the "free scooters" for disabled people. I guess that the fact that my sister-in-law is pretty much confined to one of those clouded my reasoning to a certain extent.

At any rate, I sent an e-mail to Reality Hammer to give him a heads up about our post, and he was generous enough to both respond to my e-mail and to comment on the posting, which you can read below.

Rest assured, my glee is over the end to the practice of promising people that their scooter is "free" if they don't qualify under medicaid. The companies involved make it seem like there is no risk, and perhaps no cost to consumers.There are many people who require help to maintain their mobility. These people should not be ignored.What needs to end are the loose qualifications that allow companies to advertise, and live up to, the promise that almost everyone qualifies for subidized scooters under Medicaid.It is like the school lunch program. Instead of limiting it to the truly needy, they subsidize everyone's lunch. Then it is that much harder to remove unnecessary funding because everyone is now accustomed to the subsidy.

I sincerely appreciate the clarification, and am feeling relief that I was wrong about what I thought I was reading in your post. Thanks, Reality Hammer, for taking the time to do that.

Bush to take away "free scooters"?

One of my favorite blogs is Reality Hammer, which I check out on a daily basis as I find his insight and comments to usually be right on the money. I encourage you to check his blog out, if you haven't done so yet.

However, there was one post in particular (and a follow up that he did as well) back in January that I kind of take issue with. It had to do with the "cuts" President Bush plans to make in Medicare, and Reality Hammer seemed to take particular glee in the cutting of the "free scooters benefit" - you've seen the ads by distributors of those electric chairs that disabled people use to get around in, right? Well, my sister-in-law uses one of those. She has MS, and no longer has the use of her legs, and has no strength to use a non-powered wheel chair. When I read the post at Reality Hammer, I became a little upset, and asked my brother about their situation. Dither's reply is as follows -

The article indicated that Bush was trying to take away the "free" scooters from people. I don't know about that, but what I do know is that he is trying to get the money into local states hands rather than distribute it from the feds. Same amount of money doesn't seem to indicate reduction in benefits; it could actually increase benefits. My wife's scooter came through insurance, 20% paid by me, $180. Not exactly free. Also, we don't have access to the free stuff since we have too many resources - I own my home, cars and a retirement portfolio. The problem as I see it, has nothing to do with the scooters being free but with the cost of them being so high that only Medicare/Medicaid/Insurance can afford the dollars for them. These items are a specialty item. Manufactured to stringent standards so the owners have them for a considerable time and so that they are safe for the user. My wife has needed her scooter for the last ten years. Without it she would be confined to the house since she is unable to walk. While she has a wheel chair, it isn't powered except when I am pushing. She doesn't have the strength to push the thing herself. I don't consider myself to be a liberal in any way. I don't like the fact of the amount of regulations required by the government in order to manufacture the power assisted chairs and scooters that are in place since regulations, at best, increase the cost of everything. The unfortunate result of the costs require help for many whose lives would be severely curtailed without those "free" scooters. Should the government "pay" for these scooters? I would sincerely hope that we have enough compassion for the handicapped to chip in when needed IF the government finds it difficult to continue.

So ... those "scooters" really aren't free, except possibly for those that don't have any assets, as my brother has. What's wrong with providing something to disabled people that increases their mobility so they can live as "normal" a life as possible?

Don't get me wrong - Medicare/Medicaid fraud is rampant, and needs to be rectified. I don't want to start a "war" with Reality Hammer over this, but exhibiting glee about taking away "free scooters" just seems wrong to me somehow.

MSM opinion/news Note: This was originally posted by Dither.

It has been a few days now and not too many other conservative commentators have been tarred with the "paid for political opinion". I do think that those who speak and get paid to speak should indicate the general source of their funding. I could wish that my brother and I were being paid for these missives, but we are not. Now, the question arises in my mind, why isn't anyone pointing the finger of derision towards those whose opinion is constantly being paid for, the "news reporters"? No one seems to think anything about the msm printing opinions as if they were news. Once upon a time, the press was filled with journalists whose thrust was for presenting the happenings without trying to editorialize it to mean what they wanted the news to be. These people were trained in the method of "who, what, where, why and how" of presenting facts about things. Now, the "journalism" classes are filled with people who seem to think nothing should be reported without some sort of comment about the "right or wrong" of the situation. If you can stomach reading the entire stories in the msm or listen to the rantings of the various "news" reporters, such as Dan Blather er Rather, you will almost invariably get some sort of comment about how this or that story underscores some scandal or other and just reinforces the notion that as long as there is a conservative in office, these types of things will continue, with a rueful shaking of the head... There is no bias in the msm, just ask them. They are, after all, the protectors of the freedom of the press, watchdogs on the politicos and ever vigilant about the encroachment of the truth.

Note: This was originally posted by Dither.

Pet peeve update

In an earlier post on a pet peeve I have, I mentioned that I was currently "between jobs" (also known as being unemployed) in the field of Facilities Maintenance. Well, as of February 28th, that will no longer be the case, as I was offered a job (I won't mention by whom, as I want to keep my job seperate from this), which I accepted.

Was that job offer because of someone reading my post? Um ... no. I had aplied for the position, and interviewed a couple of weeks before starting this blog, so ... it wasn't because of someone reading my post.

In a tune I happen to like, a simple question is asked - "Is there anybody out there?"

I'm beginning to wonder ...

If the Iraqi's can do this, why can't King County?

Recently, in a Knight Ridder story that the Seattle Times published here, it was reported that "Iraqi election officials yesterday delayed announcing the official results of the Jan. 30 elections by several days to allow a recount of some 150,000 votes and to sort through thousands more that won't be counted because of irregularities." [Emphasis mine]

The Iraqi's are very concerned with getting the vote count correct, unlike former Attorney General Gregoire, and Dean Logan and King Sims of King County. If the Iraqi's, who have to deal with gun toting, bomb planting terrorists take the pains to make sure the vote count is correct throughout the entire nation, why are former Attorney General Gregoire, Dean Logan and King Sims satisfied with their sloppy, error filled, perhaps even fraud riddled results?

I, for one, am certainly not 'satisfied'. My hope is that the Republican Party comes up with a viable candidate to unseat Sims.

A civilized military?

David Limbaugh has an outstanding blog, and is an almost daily read for me. In one of his recent posts, David asks the question, "Does the Left want to "Civilize" the Military?", and details the wailing and gnashing of teeth over the recent remarks by Lt. General James Mattis, where he said, "It's fun to shoot some people. I'll be right upfront with you, I like brawling. You go into Afghanistan, you got guys who slap women around for five years because they didn't wear a veil. You know, guys like that ain't got no manhood left anyway, so it's a hell of a lot of fun to shoot them."

I'm a Navy vet, and as I was reading David's post on this, I was reminded of a conversation I had years ago (in the early '90's) with a former female co-worker, who asked me why boot camp was "so rough?". What prompted her question was me relating to her how I used to watch the Marine "boots" (trainees) run miles every day through semi-deep sand (I went to basic training in San Diego back in the mid-70's, and the Marine basic training facility is right next door to the Navy facility), and how they had ambulances following behind, to pick up the guys that passed out during the run.

I explained that, first of all, MY boot camp was a relative breeze in comparison, and that second of all, things are much different "today" (there have been other changes since) than they were then. Then I tried to explain to her why the Marines trained so hard - that they were training to go into combat, and they needed to be trained hard, to give them a better chance of surviving and accomplishing the mission.

I've never been in combat, but I know that combat is a rough business, and in order for combat missions to have a successful outcome (i.e, us winning), you need to have rough men, trained hard. There is an axiom in the combat arms of the military that goes something like this - "Train like you're going to fight, and fight like you've been trained." - with the truth behind that being, if you don't train hard, you will not be able to fight hard.

Think about that for a moment, and consider what might have happened in Afghanistan and Iraq. While each casualty on the battle field is a tragedy - and I mourn each loss - think what the casualty rates might have been if our forces didn't train hard. You think the hysterics from the defeatist Left are over the top now? Think of what they would have been saying, if the casualty rates were higher!

While I think that basic training has been watered down way too much, I thank God that the training our military people do go through, produces such "rough" men as Lt. Gen. James Mattis. Without men such as him, I don't know how free America would still be, and that's a scary thought.

State task force on election reform

Former Attorney General Gregoire set up a task force to look into election reform, and they are currently making their way across the state to hear what people think. Well, as reported by Andrew Garber of the Seattle Times here, Sam Reed got an earful - and he was surprised to learn that the people that attended the first meeting in Vancouver were not happy, and expressed the lack of trust they felt in the election process. Imagine that. Surprise at the fact that the majority of the voters in Washington don't trust the election process. Hmmm ... gee, I wonder why not?

At any rate, the floor was opened for people attending the meeting to ask questions, and or make statements, and one of the things mentioned most of all was the call for a re-vote. At the beginning of the panel discussion, recent proposals for election reform were handed out to the more than 100 people in attendance, so they could comment on the proposals.

I wasn't there, but if I had been, these are the proposals I would have made:
  1. Move the primary back to allow enough time between the primary and the general election.
  2. Require that all eligible voters re-register before any new elections. Anyone not re-registering would not be allowed to vote, period.
  3. When people re-register, require them to provide a photo ID (either driver's license or State ID card), and any other approved documentation proving where they actually live, such as a utility bill.
  4. Require that each county reconcile the voting lists, purging all voters who did not re-register from the rolls.
  5. Require each county to enter the newly registered voters signatures into the voter database, as well as maintain a hard copy of the registration, so as to verify signatures at the time of voting.
  6. During any election, as people vote at the polls, require that they bring photo ID with them, to be compared to the list at their precinct.
  7. Require that all provisional ballots be of a different color than the regular ballot, and that they be kept seperate from all regular ballots in a secure location.
  8. Require provisional ballots not be counted until all other ballots are counted, and require that the signatures are verified before they are counted.
  9. Disallow any "enhancements" by anyone on any and all ballots. If any ballots get rejected by the counting machines, they are to be disqualified - no more guessing the voter's "intent".
  10. All ballots will be kept in a secure location under WSP guard during the counting process, with access to the ballots limited to authorized individuals only.

There are more, but I didn't want to put people to sleep.

If you have any suggestions on election reforms, please let me know.

Stefan does it again

This past week, as reported in the Seattle Times, Ron Sims tried to spin his way through the King County election mess, but Stefan Sharkansky from Sound Politics was there to correct King Sims (which seems to be all too easy for Stefan to do lately) on his assertion of a 99.98% vote count accuracy rate, when in fact it is only 99.8% using the raw numbers that the County has reluctantly provided. You can read about it here.

Stefan and Crew at Sound Politics have been doing Yeoman's work covering the mess of the governor's race here in the state of Washington. If you want to know what all has been happening, the information there is a must read.

Another pet peeve Note: This was originally posted by Dither.

What is it with some drivers? You know the ones I mean, they are the ones who think nothing of driving 10 to 20 miles an hour under the speed limit when there is no discernable reason for being that slow AND IN THE FAR LEFT LANE. I guess I wouldn't mind so much if they were all alone in their leasurely pursuit of getting somewhere, but where do their twin brothers come from so that the two of them are sitting side by side (by side by side on some freeways)? If there were a ton of cars and trucks in front of them it would not matter so much, but when there is open and free space for multitudes of car lengths stretching out to miles, in some cases, why do they sit together? I wonder if their cars are negatively impacted by going under too many power lines and becoming magnetically realigned so they have no choice...

UPDATE: Gray Wolf adds - Ah yes, I know them well. My own experience is on the Viaduct/Hwy 99/SR509 on the weekends. The posted speed limits are between 50 and 60, yet most people on these routes on the weekends insist on only going 40 to 45. And these are the same people who whizz by you during the week, doing 70, 80, 85 and as they whizz by, give you the one fingered salute. People, if you're going to drive on the freeway, drive at the posted speed limit, please!

Note: This was originally posted by Dither.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

In case you're wondering

Just in case you've stumbled across my new blog, I am in the process of transferring posts from my old blog, and adding HTML code to the template. Why, you ask?

Well, lemme tell ya. When I started my original blog, I didn't do any checking to see if the name was being used by anyone else - I know, it was dumb (and let that be a lesson to you!). There I was, with my older brother as a partner, blogging happily away in my skivvies (ask your Dad), when what do my wondering eyes see? A reference to these guys that had their own web site, with OUR BLOG'S NAME! Aw, crap ... what to do, what to do?

So I fired off an e-mail to The Boys (don't bother looking that up - I made it up to protect the innocent victims in this whole thing), asking what they wanted me to do, and then didn't hear back from them for a few days. I changed the banner description, putting in a disclaimer and their web site url, and an apology to those who came to our (old) blog looking for those other guys' web site (they don't have a blog that I know of), and I posted on the situation as well. Hey, I wanted to be honest with everybody, ok?

Meanwhile ... while I'm waiting for these guys to reply ... my brother and I are still posting ... and I go to Yahoo and Google, and Blogorama (a blog listing site) and list our blog, and sign up for Google's AdSense program, and this and that and the other ... wait, it gets better (or worse, depending on your point of view).

Still with me? Okay, where was I? Oh yeah ...

As I'm surfin' the web today, I decide to check my "Suspect E-mail" folder, and what do my wondering eyes see? Yep ... you guessed it ... The Boys had answered (and an ominous organ chord played in the background, too) ... and just what did they have to say?

Yep ... you guessed it ... The Boys asked - very nicely and politely, mind you - that we change the name of our blog ... eeeuuuuw, crap! Sooooo ... I've just spent the past several hours relisting this blog, and delisting our old blog, adding HTML code to this one and deleting it from the old one, and I've begun the laborious task of copying/pasting posts from our old blog here, which I hope to have completed sometime tomorrow ... I'm logging off soon, though, as I'm tired and hungry. Phew ...

Oh, one more thing. Am I mad at The Boys for making me have to go through all of this? Nah, since they had the name first, and what they've asked is only fair ... but I am a tad peeved at ME for not doing the needed research first. If I had only done that simple little bit of research first, I wouldn't be going through all of this mess now.

Oh, well - live and learn, I guess.

UPDATE: I'm finally done - whoo hoo! Whew!

Pet peeves

From time to time, I'm going to write about some of the pet peeves that I have. Everybody has pet peeves, right? Thought so - I can hear you nodding in agreement.

I usually work in the field of Facilities Maintenance (however, I'm currently between jobs at the moment) - you know, the guy that fixes stuff and changes burned out light bulbs? Well, a lot of times as I'm fixing something, my hands get all cruddy or covered with some type of goop, that I really don't want to get on me anywhere else - heck, I really don't want it on my hands either, but it goes with the territory.

Anyway, here's my pet peeve about that. It seems that every time - not occasionally, mind you, but every time - my hands are coated with some kind of thick, nasty, viscous goop, my nose starts to itch. Yep, and usually right on the end of my nose too, so that if I scratched said itch, said goop would be transferred to the end of my nose, indicating to everyone who saw me that I must be some kind of moron because I have this goop on my nose, and I don't have enough sense to get it off.

Man, I hate that.

Howling about wolves

In case you haven't figured this out yet, I like wolves. Specifically the gray or timber wolf. Last night, on our local PBS channel, KCTS on the Oregon Field Guide program, the entire half hour show was on the migration of gray wolves from Idaho into eastern Oregon, which piqued my interest.

The thing I couldn't figure out was, what was the position of the program's writer(s) and producer(s) - were they for or against this 'invasion'? In my opinion I would have to say that they were against this, but didn't know how to come straight out and say it! The narrative seemed to me to be rambling, and slightly incoherent, which is very unusual for this program.

Why do I think that they are opposed to the state allowing the migration of wolves into Oregon? This is all supposition on my part, but to back up my supposition, I will say that they spent a lot of time interviewing and showing those who are definitely against wolves coming into the state - primarily those in the cattle and sheep industry - while only showing snippets of those who are for the return of the wolves.

What do I think? I think that it will be very hard, and expensive, for the state of Oregon to try to keep the wolves out. Wolves are very adaptable, and pretty smart, and I think whatever the state does - short of killing them all, which they can't because they are a threatened species - the wolves will figure out a way around whatever the state does to try to keep them out. I think the wolves should be allowed to gradually make their way back into Oregon, as it would be beneficial to the environment over all.

As to the concerns of the cattle and sheep ranchers? They say they don't want the wolves back in because the wolves kill and eat their livestock (pssst! wolves are predators - that's their job!), which costs them money. I can understand the fact that they don't like having their livestock eaten because it costs money, but the ranchers have to contend with coyotes and cougars, who also eat their livestock. "But!", say the ranchers, "We can kill coyotes and cougars, but not wolves!" (which is true - coyotes and cougars are "fair game", and can be killed on sight) To that I say, too bad - live with it. Your cattle and sheep will reproduce faster than the wolves can kill the offspring.

I say, leave the wolves alone, and let them live as they were intended to. What do you say?